Mac Mini Server 2009 Main drive replacement

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by nufan, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. nufan macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    Hi all. One of the drives in our 2009 mac mini server 2009 has died. I have taken apart many minis so have no problem taking it apart to replace, but does anyone know which drive is the primary, "Server HD" drive? Would it be the top drive (first drive you come across during disassembly) or the bottom drive closer to the logic board with the two pads stuck on? Just wondering if anyone knows for sure so I can avoid removing the drive that's still working fine.

    Also, to keep the server running in the mean time, I am booting to the second drive which is working fine. Just curious, once the dead primary drive is replaced , can I simply use carbon copy clone to copy back from the 2nd drive, or will I need to install snow leopard server back onto the new drive?

    Lastly, will any 500GB SATA notebook drive work fine?

    Thanks in advance for any assistance!
  2. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Afraid I don't know which drive is which, but if I had to guess, I'd say the bottom drive is the primary. CCCloner should work. Yes and I have a nearly new 500gb 7200rpm Seagate notebook drive if you need it, still under warranty.
  3. Osamede macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2009
    Take a look on Ifixit - I believe there is a step by step teardown that includes these details. If I recall correctly the primary drive is the first one you expose when you open up the unit.

    And yes, any standard size (9.5mm height) 2.5" SATA drive will work fine. That basically means 750GB and below. The 1TB drive in existence right now are all 12.5mm, so you cant use them in this unit, but anything else is fine.
  4. stukdog macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2004
    If you look in Disk Utility, it will tell you "Upper" or "Lower".
  5. nufan thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2010
    Thanks for the tips! Unfortunately can't find the info on ifixit (they have mini teardowns, but not the dual hdd version) but I'll check out disk utility when I have access to the server again, didn't think to look there for this info! Cheers
  6. northernbaldy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 13, 2010
    the north, UK
    Does anyone know the answer? Is the main os disk upper or lower in the carrier?
  7. philipma1957, Apr 16, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    In 2009 minis it is not consistent but more often then not it is the hdd close to the mobo not the hdd that replaced the dvd player.

    I suggest that the 2009 mini has both hdds changed out due to the age factor of the 2 hdds 3 years or so.. Doing just the one is not the best method.

    For the new minis read below

    All of the below refers to 2010 and 2011 minis

    It is not consistent but there is a shortcut to find out.

    turn the machine upside down remove the black circle and pull the fan.

    then lift one of the sata plugs off the mobo.

    then boot if it boots you lifted the non os if it does not boot you lifted the os.

    look at this photo

    it is a one drive 2011 mac mini. if you open your server and get to this point.

    leave the ram in and lift the sata connection.

    you can keep the fan attached if you are careful. even put it back in place. then boot.

    in this photo the upper drive (the one close to the grill) and the red circle.

    is the only drive in the machine.

    the sata for the lower drive ( further from the grill close to the top of the mini)

    is not connected since it has 1 hdd.

    since your are going to replace a drive you need to reach this spot in the teardown right before you pull a drive. most likely the hdd will not be the top one( closer to the grill) it will be the bottom one further from the grill. I have done 8 or 9 of these and 6 IIRC were the bottom (hard to change)

    Attached Files:

    • mini.jpg
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  8. northernbaldy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 13, 2010
    the north, UK
    Thanks for the reply, I took a guess and swapped out the lower disk (with an SSD) it was a correct assumption :)

    So for my 2009 mac mini, the os was on the lower disk closed to the motherboard

    I see your point about replacing both at once, but at the moment, I just need the thing running


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